Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ On data privacy, university students want collaboration, transparency

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I had to check the study to be certain, but yes, this highly touted report from published Wednesday by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was based on the opinions of 18 students. As Ryan Johnston reports, "the results were promising for institutions, the study showed, with students sharing that they trusted their universities to handle their data more than any other private company that they use, including social media companies like Facebook." Well, it showed no such thing. The idea that such a study could represent "students" in any way, shape or form is laughable, and yet that is the language used throughout. This sort of work does a disservice to the entire field. While I think it's great that those 18 students have opinions, and I encourage them to share them widely, I think it is disingenuous for organizations to disguise these carefully selected opinions as 'data' and pretend that they have conducted 'research', and I wonder just how much of what we read comes from the students and how much is the authors' own views being imposed on us.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 19, 2024 7:15 p.m.

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